Join Date: May 2005
Re: Aikido and being Christian
thanks for your comments. As for your question, I will try to answer it as best I can. I do not claim to know all the answers, nor have the whole truth worked out, because it is impossible for a man to have those things. Remember that God is God, and "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8) If we knew every single detail, every answer, not only would our minds be uncapable of understanding it, but we would be able to control it. God is not something that we can control, and believe me, we would not want to. This brings about worship. With that being said now, we believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God, and it cannot contradict itself. So, this means that we cannot take every single verse of the Bible and apply it to us in today's age...some texts were concerning the people it was written to (i.e. The Israelites, pharisees, etc...) and some apply to all. Some only apply to believers, and some apply to unbelievers.
To answer your question on Salvation being a gift, freely given, and yet to seem like a "work" of ourselves to do something- "believe" I can only offer my own answer based on Biblical Scriptures...and that is this: Even if someone lives out there life, with no claim to Christ Jesus at all, and they are on their death beds, and before they die, they repent of their life of sin, and truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and He died for thier sins, they are not only saved, but throughout their entire life, they were already chosen by God and really believed in His Son, though they did not want to admit it to themselves, or something in their life was holding them back.
Because right now I am on a limited time schedule, I am going to direct the rest of this reply to a well done piece of work based on your question. It is rendered by Steven Shaw, and he sums up the answers pretty well, and his thoughts ARE my thoughts, lol. Hope this helps:
All would agree that there is a distinction between faith and works, but if it is a prerequisite for Grace, then surely it becomes a work? If Grace is dependant on us producing our faith in Christ - turning to God - then Grace is dependant on us doing something, it is then dependant on some form of works, and no longer Grace.
"And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace." (Rom 11:6)leads to:
How does it work in relation to our salvation - how are we saved by faith?
Where does our faith come from?
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God" (Eph 2:8)
"Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues." (1Cor 12:7-9)
"For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you." (Rom 12:3)
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Heb 12:2)
Why not from us?
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless" (Rom 3:10-12)
"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." (Eph 2:4-5)
We are dead in our sin and unable to choose God, so God in His GREAT mercy chose us, the elect, even while we were dead in our sin and actively opposing God, made us alive in Christ and brought us to salvation.
It is through this faith which God gave us that we are saved. We are given faith to believe in Christ and accept His sacrifice for us, then God's wrath is satisfied and Christ's righteousness is imputed onto us - We are credited as righteous and washed clean.
Praise be to God who in His perfect righteousness saves us despite our sins!
All quotes on this page (except James 2:14 - NASB) are taken from the NIV.
Copyright Steven Shaw 2001
So, not only does the New Testament not conflict with the message of being saved by Grace through faith alone, but it is the only way a man can come to know the Lord. God does it all. He gives us the gift, and then He recieves it through us for His own glory. As hard to fathom as this might be, this is the only message that seperates Christianity from every other religion in the world. God is totally in control. If you are sincere in your askings, and really "hope it could all be true," then that is God working already...calling you.
There are many more things we can discuss about this topic, and also repentance, how that too is God initiated.
Until next time,